‘It's a miracle,' armed citizen was at Titusville peace rally when gunman opened fire, police say

Citizen won't face any charges

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Titusville Police are calling the bystander who shot a gunman who opened fire at a park full of kids on Saturday a "hero." On Monday, police said they aren't releasing the names of those involved and said the citizen who returned fire on the suspect won't be facing charges.

"He's a hero," Titusville Police Sgt. Bill Amos said. "This park was filled with families and children and, at that time, it was an active shooter situation for him and he was trained enough to deal with it and he did."

Police said the incident started Saturday around 5:30 p.m. when the accused gunman got into a fight with someone else at the Peace in the City rally at Issac Campbell Park. Amos said the fight started because of a dispute over a basketball game.

The gunman opened fire at the park filled with families, Amos said. The shooting was caught on camera by DJ Dwight Harvey who streamed the event on Facebook. In the video, children are seen running from bounce houses, screaming, losing their shoes as they ran.

Amos said that by confronting the gunman the bystander saved lives, adding that the citizen had his concealed weapons permit.

"(The suspect) was confronted by a concerned citizen who saw him running away with the firearm and confronted him and (the suspect) pointed the firearm at him so that concerned citizen took action into his own hands and shot the perpetrator," Amos said. "It's a miracle. That's all you can say."

The shooting happened at the Peace in the City rally, hosted by the family of Tony Butler, 38, who was found murdered in a burning car in Mims back on July 9. 

On Monday, Butler's aunt Brenda Mayo explained how painful it was for their family to have a shooting at an event she said was intended to bring peace to Titusville.

"We have to pull together to try to get peace back in the city, we have to do our best to pull together and it's scary because the younger generations all they want to do is to own guns, it's scary," Mayo said.

Like police, she said she is grateful for the bystander who stopped the shooter. Mayo said she knows him but for privacy reasons, would not name him.

"I thank God he was there, I hate he had to do that because I know it's bothering him as well," Mayo said. 

Titusville Police said Monday that the suspect is in critical condition. They expect to release reports of the shooting and 911 calls later this week.